Universities and social mobility

Think tank: The Sutton Trust

Author(s): Various Authors

November 24, 2021

This report from UK think tank the Sutton Trust is a landmark study looking at the role of higher education in social mobility.

The research is a landmark piece of work for the study of social mobility in this country, utilising data on socio-economic background and education pathways linked to adult labour market outcomes for several entire school cohorts. This provides the clearest picture yet on the role of higher education in social mobility. The report ‘Which university degrees are best for intergenerational mobility?’, has been produced by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, in partnership with the Sutton Trust and the Department for Education and authored by Jack Britton, Elaine Drayton and Laura van der Erve. A Sutton Trust summary accompanies the report. The report looks in detail at how higher education attendance influences the chances of social mobility. While social mobility can take many forms, the piece looks at income mobility in particular, looking at how many young people who grow up economically disadvantaged move into high income groups when they reach adulthood, and which university pathway they have taken.